Hi friends! Happy Friday! Somehow, this week has absolutely raced by. Do you ever have a week where you just start on the wrong foot and don’t quite recover? I’ve been in a full on funk for a few days now and after some reflecting, I realize the base of all my frustrations lie in disappointment.
I hold myself to an extremely high standard which is often my downfall. I absolutely love blogging. I have always had this thing in me that needed to share. In middle school, I discovered the advice column in my mom’s fashion magazines and I was absolutely hooked. I wanted to do that- the sharing, the helping, the discovering.
I started my blog as an assignment from my Marketing professor in 2011. I started out with probably 10 people reading it-and I have 9 people in my family. I was never expecting anything back from my blog, I just wanted to pour into it. I wanted a creative outlet and a place to share what the Lord had put on my heart. It became my own digital journal to look back on, my engagement, my wedding, my pregnancies and births and everything in between. I had no clue how many people were reading and following along and while I went months at a time without posting a single thing, I had a select few incredible, loyal followers that supported me for all those years and stuck around.
Two kids happened, and along the way the beautiful passions and desires overflowing in me lost their outlet and began drowning out all the joy in me. I suddenly felt overwhelmed by all the tasks that met me each morning and while the day-to-day to do list of a mom isn’t very glamorous or enticing, instead of seeing the list as things I needed to do that day, I started to see it as things in the way of what I needed to do that day. Friends, that is a brutal place to be. Even more painful than experiencing that lack of joy in something as fulfilling and all-consuming as motherhood was confessing that to O. Honestly, I was just ashamed to reveal a deep crack in the impossible “doing-it-all” mother armor; an armor protecting me from letting the “want to’s” outweigh the “have to’s.” But revealing this crack let me see the most beautiful thing; if I could combine the wants with the musts, I would finally have balance.
I realized I could have both.
Of course, having “both” of anything comes at a higher cost. I don’t have a nanny or a babysitter, I don’t have a team or employees. I write in journals while my son watches his morning tv show, I type away like a madwoman while my daughter nurses, I scribble on whatever paper scraps I can find in my purse while waiting at the kids appointments and type notes in my phone while brushing my teeth at night. I edit photos, put together collages and get a head start on the next week’s posts when the kids go to bed-after cleaning the kitchen and playroom, before reading and spending time with O. I steal time away wherever I can to create things that inspire me and I hope so deeply that they inspire others. And while I have never been more tired, I am finally back to that feeling- that feeling of balance, fulfillment, joy.
And what do they say is the comparison of joy? That’s right. Comparison. I’ve always struggled with avoiding that temptation to make myself judge-deciding who I think is better at something than me and of course, the worst part, who I think I’m better than. What an ugly, dissatisfying habit. Just as quickly as I found my joy, I learned I had the power of destroying it right there in myself. I know where contentment and lasting joy come from and let me tell you- it’s not where social media and blog analytics live. I found myself slumping this week into a “why aren’t more people reading this?” and “how do I get more people here” funk. I’ve rebranded. I’m fully committed to this thing. And as you know full well- I’m not alone.
The blog world is more saturated than ever and I’m surrounded by incredibly beautiful, talented, creative women. I give a name to their success- “they must have a nanny,” “well of course, they don’t have kids,” “their husband is a photographer” and so on and so on. But you wanna know something? Those people are successful because they’re working like crazy. They’re stealing time whenever and wherever they can, just like me.
I shared these thoughts with O and he reminded me of all the times over the past few years I’ve gotten an email from a woman telling me how this blog has impacted their lives. He reminded me that it doesn’t matter what I do or who people think I am, but who’s I know I am. These passions in me that keep my mind racing at 3am when I know my precious daughter will be up roaring two hours later? Those matter. They are uniquely mine. And what He’s given me, He’s given me the grace for.
I only have the grace for today. The grace for this amount of “followers” and “readers,” the grace to care for the two babies that call me Mama and the grace to be the best me for the man that calls me his. I pray today that you remember you only have grace for where you are, not for where you think you should be or where someone else is. If you find yourself struggling between your actual to-do list and your I-wish-I-could-do list, pray about where the balances between the two. You’ve been given a skill set and gifts all your own, and He will show you how to thrive in them. If you’ve had a week full of comparison and doubt like I’ve had, repent. Today is a new day to start fresh, grateful for the abundant gifts we’ve been given (both temporary and eternal) and focused on how we can be who He’s called us to be. Nothing more, and absolutely nothing less. Have a wonderful weekend, friends.
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you with whatever hard thing comes up when the time comes.”
Matthew 6:34 MSG